Making a Difference

January 15, 2010
Sixteen year old Jessica Shue of Quitman Arkansas was as motivated a teen as you will ever meet when she donated blood for the first time under Arkansas’ new donor law at a high school drive last year. A cheerful smile she literally explodes with optimism and an energy that makes you tired just thinking about trying to keep up with her. 
Wind the clock forward a year to September 2, 2009 which was her 17th birthday. As the day progressed, this particular birthday earned a new meaning for Jessica….it is the date that found her father in emergency surgery at the University of Arkansas Medical School (UAMS).  
Jessica relates that her dad was enroute to a doctor’s appointment in Little Rock when he began to feel ill.   Being relatively close to Conway Regional Medical Center (another Red Cross serviced hospital) he made the decision to detour to their emergency room.   This decision turned out to be a life saving one as his blood pressure continued to decline and blood transfusions were required to stabilize him for transport to UAMS.   He was bleeding internally and it was determined that he required immediate surgical intervention.   During the course of this procedure Jessica reports that more than 20 units of blood were used.
As the surgery progressed Jessica rallied her family to support donating blood at the Little Rock Donor Center.   Accompanied by her cousin Jessie she arrived with a purpose. When visiting with staff she said, “It is the least we can do”. While she was two pounds shy of the new donor weight requirement she took the news in stride and arranged for her uncle to come over after work to donate for her. She convinced her cousin Jessie Shue to donate for the first time and stood by encouraging him through the process.   We are confident her recruiting efforts will continue during this difficult time.
Jessica plans a career in the Air Force after completing her education. Her goal is to fly rescue helicopters. She enjoys school and is involved in cross-country track and basketball. She loves her teachers, her horse and talking to friends via cell phone!   She sets a great example for all of us with her positive commitment to community and people in need. Thanks Jessica for showing us that our future leaders are making a difference today!